Posted in Around The Church, From The Altar, With The Kids

Lent 2018

If you’re looking for my annual Lent family devotions, they are in book form this year! I was coming up with a way to make the family devotional more user-friendly. Scrolling through an entire week of blog posts is a bit messy. It is free, but it is messy. Then, I had this idea to add a personal devotional for moms to the front. In pitching the idea to The Pastor, we kind of thought, “Why just moms?” So, I enlisted his help in getting both a full 40-day devotional for all people and a 40-day family devotional written. We then put it on Kindle for ease-of-use. (It is also available in paperback if you’re not a digital person.)

The entire thing is really cohesive: The personal devotions and family devotions tie into each other, so you’ll all be walking the same spiritual path together. And as usual, the family devotional includes activities to do! Fun!

The theme of this year’s Lenten devotional is Refocus. Lent is a great time to look over everything and evaluate if you’re living the way you think you should be living. “Does my life reflect Christ?” It’ll challenge you to reevaluate where you put your time and money. It will ask you to reevaluate your priorities and commitments. Basically, it is going to step all over your toes and probably make you uncomfortable and you might even hate me for it. Or… you might refocus your life on the cross and do big Jesus-work this coming year. I think it’s worth the risk.

If you want a free devotional, all my previous years of Lent family devotions are still available here on the blog. Since Lent is always 40 days, always starting on Ash Wednesday and always ending on Easter, any of these can be used any year.

Lent Family Devotional 2017 – This family devotional looks into the life and ministry of Jesus.

40 Holy People – This is a Lenten devotional looking at the lives of those who have followed Christ with great courage and wisdom.

Fruit of the Spirit Family Devotional – This is not a Lenten devotional, but you can use it during Lent if you’d like. It is 9 weeks, so it is a little longer than Lent.

Click here to buy this year’s Lent devotional on Amazon.  My hope and prayer is for families to come together around a table and talk about Jesus. So, whatever you chose to do this Lent, be it using Refocus, using one of the free devotions on my blog, using another devotional book, or just reading through a book of the Bible together after dinner— make sure that you don’t miss Jesus during this season. Let the season bring you closer to Him and closer to your family.

Posted in From The Altar, With The Kids

Lenten Family Devotion Week Seven 

What you’ll need this week: This week, we’re making a wreath, adding a bit each day. For the wreath, you can pick up a twig wreath at a craft store very inexpensively. You can decide if you’ll just make one wreath for the family or if each person will make their own. (They can always gift them to Grandma on Easter.) You’ll need to attach the items each day. Hot glue works, but using floral wire to tie things on and in works better. In addition to the wreath, you’ll need: 
– Something gold (like garland or a sprig of gold)

– Feathers (or birds, whatever you happen to find and like)

– Something purple (it can be a flower, ribbon, fabric- it is up to you)

– Something black (flower, ribbon, do-dad, whatever you like)

– Something linen (ribbon, scrap of fabric, flower, butterfly)

– Something white (flower, ribbon, butterfly, lily, etc.)

Day Thirty-Seven: Monday: Betrayal & Arrest

Read John 18:1-14

OR

Jesus Is Arrested, p.210-211 in Jesus Calling Bible Storybook

OR

A Dark Night In The Garden, p.294-301 in The Jesus Storybook Bible

Discussion:

– Judas saw all the same miracles that Jesus performed as the rest of the disciples. Why do you think he would betray Jesus?

– Peter the bold stepping up again and cutting off a dude’s ear! Why do you think Jesus rebuked him?

Activity:

– Today, we’re adding some gold to our wreath to represent the betrayal of Jesus.

Day Thirty-Eight: Tuesday: Peter’s Denial

Read John 13:36-38; 18:15-18; 18:25-27

OR

Peter Denies Jesus, p. 212-213 in Jesus Calling Bible Storybook

Discussion:

– Why did Peter deny Jesus?

– What do you think went through Peter’s head as the rooster crowed?

– Do you ever try to hide your faith?

Activity:

– Adding to our wreath some feathers to signify the rooster crowing at the betrayal of Christ.

Day Thirty-Nine: Wednesday: Jesus’ Trial

Read John 18:28-40; 19:1-6 and Luke 23:1-25

Discuss:

– Did Pilate want to punish Jesus? Why did he agree to it?

– Why would the people choose Barabbas’ release over releasing Jesus?

– Was any of this fair?

Activity:

– Today, we are adding purple to our wreath, like the robe used to mock Jesus.

Day Forty: Thursday: Crucifixation

Read John 19:16-37 and Luke 23:26-49

OR

The Sun Stops Shining, p. 302-307 in The Jesus Storybook Bible

OR

Good Friday, p.214-219 in Jesus Calling Bible Storybook

Discussion:

– Take some time to discuss the impact of the crucifixion on your hearts today. What does the death of Christ mean? If you need a big word to focus on, Justification and Atonement are good ones to explore.

Activity:

– Though Good Friday is tomorrow, we’re taking time today to reflect on what is coming. Today, we’ll be adding black, the color of mourning, to our wreath.

Day Forty-One: Friday: Burial of Jesus

Read John 19:38-42 and Luke 23:50-56

OR

The Sun Stops Shining, p. 308-309 in The Jesus Storybook Bible

Discuss:

– What do you think the soul of Jesus was doing while his body was being buried?

– How do you think His followers felt?

Activity:

– Today, we’re adding linen to our wreath, to represent the linen they wrapped Jesus in.

Day Forty-Two: Saturday: Resurrection

We’ve made it through. Today, is the last day of Lent. While today is the day the world waited. Tomorrow will be Easter, and look forward to his Resurrection.

Read John 20:1-10 and Luke 24:1-40

OR

Easter Sunday, p.220-223 in Jesus Calling Storybook Bible

OR

God’s Wonderful Surprise, p.310-317 in The Jesus Storybook Bible

Discussion:

– Do you find it interesting the Jesus first appeared to women?

– When they first realized the body was gone, what do you think they thought happened?

– What does the Resurrection mean for us?

– What have you learned about Justification, Atonement, and Redemption?

Activity:

– Today, we finish our wreath. We add white, the color of the resurrection. And now your Easter wreath is complete. Hang it up or plan to gift it to someone special tomorrow, to remind them of the hope of Easter.

Posted in From The Altar, With The Kids

Lenten Family Devotion Week Six

This week you will need: 
Day Thirty-one: toilet paper

Day Thirty-two: old magazines, catalogues, newspapers, etc., white school glue, scissors, card stock

Day Thirty-four: canvas or canvas board and paint

Day Thirty-five: copies of the coloring page

Day Thirty-six: large piece of chip board, paint, drill, twine

Day Thirty-One: Monday: Lazarus

Read John 11:1-44

OR

Jesus Heals the Sick: Lazarus Is Raised!, p.194-195 in Jesus Calling Bible Storybook

Discussion:

– What do you make of verse 4?

– Why dis Mary and Martha blame Jesus for the death of their brother?

– More paradox! What paradox do we find in this passage?

– Did you know John 11:35 is the shortest verse in the Bible?

– What do you think this experience was like for Lazarus?

Activity:

– Wrapping The Dead: Split into teams. However many teams your family wants to make. You need at least two people per team. Each team gets a roll of toilet paper. On your mark, get set, go! First team to completely wrap one member and have that person play dead on the floor wins! When all Lazaruses are dead, yell, “Come forth!” And have all the Lazaruses jump up alive again!

Day Thirty-Two: Tuesday: Zacchaeus

Read Luke 19:1-10

OR

The Man Who Didn’t Have Any Friends (None), p.264-271 in The Jesus Storybook Bible

OR

Zacchaeus Meets Jesus, p.196-197 in Jesus Calling Bible Storybook

Discussion:

– Did Zacchaeus’ money grant him access to Jesus?

– How did meeting Jesus change Zacchaeus’ life?

– Has salvation come to your house?

Activity:

– A Tree Made of Trash: Gather your supplies. Old newspapers, magazines, catalogues, etc. Plus you’ll need glue, scissors, and card stock. On the card stock, you’re going to glue your pieces to make your tree. To make a tree trunk and branches, take a piece of scrap paper from a magazine or whatever, brush glue on the piece, roll it as tight as you can. Glue the roll onto your card stock. Once you have your trunk all made with as many rolls of paper as you need, cut leaf shapes out of scrap paper and glue them to the tree. If you want, find a man and cut him out and glue him in the tree. After this dries, hang it with the rest of your Lenten art.

Day Thirty-Three: Wednesday: Triumphant Entry

Read John 12:12-19

OR

Palm Sunday, p.204-205 in Jesus Calling Bible Storybook

Discussion:

– Why were the people praising Jesus?

– Why a donkey?

Activity:

– Palm Parade!: Grab some palm branches and have a parade through your house, your yard, your neighborhood- whatever works. Praise God for the good things He has done! If you don’t have palm branches, make do by grabbing other branches or flowers or even just waving scarves.

– Read the following Poem:

The Donkey

BY G. K. CHESTERTON

When fishes flew and forests walked

And figs grew upon thorn,

Some moment when the moon was blood

Then surely I was born.

With monstrous head and sickening cry

And ears like errant wings,

The devil’s walking parody

On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,

Of ancient crooked will;

Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,

I keep my secret still. 

Fools! For I also had my hour;

One far fierce hour and sweet:

 There was a shout about my ears,

 And palms before my feet.
Day Thirty-Four: Thursday: The Lord’s Supper

Read Mark 14:12-25

OR

The Last Supper, p.206-209 in Jesus Calling Bible Storybook

OR

The Servant King, p.286-293 in The Jesus Storybook Bible

Discussion:

– What was Passover?

– Does this bread and wine sound familiar to you?

– Did you know that in the early church, there were rumors that Christians were can I like cannibals because of this sacrament?

Activity:

– The Last Supper Painting: Check out the image of the Last Supper. Recreate it in your own way. I suggest providing good art supplies for this one. Canvas and paint. You could also do canvas board, if you choose. Younger ones may prefer to just draw the bread and the cup. When the masterpieces are complete, hang them with the rest of your Lenten art.

Day Thirty-Five: Friday: Jesus Washes Feet

Read John 13:1-20

OR

The Servant King, p.286-293 in The Jesus Storybook Bible

OR

The Last Supper, p.206-209 in Jesus Calling Bible Storybook

Discussion:

– Jesus knows that Judas is going to betray Him, yet He washes his feet along with the rest of the disciples. Discuss.

– What is the significance of Jesus washing the feet of everyone else?

– What dumb things does Peter say this time?

– Paradox! What is the paradox in this passage?

Activity:

– Since we already washed feet, we won’t repeat. Unless you skipped it then. If you skipped it, by all means have a foot washing. For the rest of us, here is a coloring page.

Day Thirty-Six: Saturday: Holy Spirit

Read John 14:15-31

Discussion:

– Jesus says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments”, would you say that is true?

– Jesus is telling His disciples He is going to die, yet He also tells them not to be afraid- why?

– Who is The Ruler of This World?

– If Jesus is leaving, how will the disciples not be orphans?

Activity:

– Holy Spirit, You Are Welcome Here Sign: We’re going to make a sign! You’ll need a large piece of chip board. Grab the paint, let’s get to work. Paint the background. You can paint it white. You can let each child paint a portion of the background. In our house, we’re just making one sign. If you want, you can let each child make a smaller version. It is up to you. Once the background is painted and dried, paint the letters. “Holy Spirit, You are welcome here!” You can do part in cursive and part in script. You can use stencils if you are uncomfortable painting the letters. You can use a pencil or chalk pencil to write the letters before you commit to paint. Leave some room at the top for the holes to hang it. Once your letters are painted and dry, grab your drill and drill two holes in the top large enough for twine to pass through, but not so large a knotted piece of the twine will pass through. Cut a piece of twine, feed it through the holes, and tie a knot in each end. Now you can hang the sign! If you’re wanting to hang it outside, you’ll want to either rub it with some furniture wax, which will distress it, but protect it. Or you can spray acrylic fixative spray on it for a clear finish. Or hang it as is inside the house.

Posted in From The Altar, With The Kids

Lenten Family Devotional Week Five 

Week FiveThis week you will need:

Day Twenty-six: sticks from your yard, twine

Day Twenty-seven: baking soda, grape juice concentrate, paint brushes, paper, water

Day Twenty-eight: cotton balls, paper, and glue for the alternate craft

Day Thirty: stones you can write on, chalk marker

Day Twenty-five: Monday: Peter’s Confession

Read Luke 9:18-20

Discussion:

– Why would people think Jesus was John the Baptist, Elijah, or a risen prophet back from the dead?

– Pete finally understands who Christ is and proclaims it. Do you proclaim that Jesus is Lord?

– Does your life reflect your confession of faith?

Activity:

– Jesus Is Lord Experiment: Today, we’re going to write “Jesus Is Lord” on our arm or hand. I’d use a Sharpie, but if you want to use a washable marker, that will work, too. Now, if we publicly proclaim He is Lord, how should we live? How should we act? At the end of the experiment, discuss with one another what you found. Did people notice? Did it remind you of who you want to be?

Day Twenty-Six: Tuesday: Take Up Your Cross

Read Luke 9:23-27

Discussion:

– Here, again, we have this idea of paradox. To save your life you must loose it. Lose your life and you’ll save it. Discuss paradox again.

– What does it matter if you gain the whole world but lose your soul?

– What does it mean to take up your cross?

Activity:

– Make Crosses: Gather some sticks from the yard. Break or cut them with kitchen scissors down to appropriate cross sizes. Use twine to tie the sticks together. Hang them with your other Lenten artwork.

Day Twenty-Seven: Wednesday: Transfiguration

Read Luke 9: 28-36

OR

The Glory of Jesus, p.202-203 in Jesus Calling Bible Storybook

Discussion:

– What do you think about Peter’s suggestion?

– What do you think Jesus, Moses, and Elijah were talking about while the disciples slept?

– Why did Jesus only take 3 of his disciples?

– What do you think glory even looks like?

Activity:

– Secret Message: You will need baking soda, water, and grape juice concentrate. Mix together equal parts of baking soda and water. Use a paintbrush to write a message on a piece of paper. Watercolor paper will stand up best to the liquid, but any paper will work. Let the message dry. Trade papers. Paint the page with grape juice concentrate to reveal the secret message!

Day Twenty-Eight: Thursday: 72 Go and Come

Read Luke 10: 1-12; 17-20

Discussion:

– Do you think these 72 were thinking they might die?

– Do you think these 72 really had any idea what they were doing?

– Would you have been comfortable traveling with no provisions?

– What is peace? How can we strive to have it in our home?

– The Kingdom of God came near no matter what the people did. Why is this significant?

Activity:

– Sheep Among The Wolves Game: Everyone sit in a circle and close your eyes. I will tap one of you. You will be the sheep. Everyone else is a wolf. Then we will go around and ask questions (to me) about who is the sheep. You cannot ask if it is a specific person. You can only ask yes or no questions, like, “Is their favorite color red?” “Do they have a lot of hair?” Etc. I will answer yes or no for the sheep. Play a few times so everyone has a chance to be the sheep.

– Alternate activity: Draw a sheep on paper. Glue cotton balls onto the sheep to make him fluffy.

Day Twenty-Nine: Friday: The Good Samaritan

Read Luke 10:26-37

OR

Jesus’ Great Stories: The Good Samaritan, p.176-177 in Jesus Calling Bible Storybook

Discussion:

– How does this story answer the question, “Who is my neighbor?”

– Why was it significant that the man was a Samaritan?

– How can you be a Good Samaritan?

– Can you think of any examples of people who lived out this story in their lives?

Activity:

– Put On A Play! This is an excellent story to act out. Even better if you’re willing to get out some supplies to really wrap the injured man up. (An ace bandage, some band aides, a roll of toilet paper.) You’ll need a man, robbers, priest, Levi, Good Samaritan, and an Inn Keeper. If you have an extra person for a donkey, awesome! If you need to duplicate parts, no worries. It is just for fun!

Day Thirty: Saturday: The Woman In Adultery

Read John 8:1-11

Discussion:

– Why would they bring this woman to Jesus?

– What do you think Jesus wrote on the ground?

– Why did no one throw a stone?

– What would it mean to go and sin no more?

Activity:

– Transgressions on Stones. Sometimes we need a physical reminder to drop the guilt, the burdens that we carry. Grab a chalk marker, help the younger kids, write on stones the things you are sorry for. Write the burdens that hold you back. Now take your stones outside and drop them one by one. Once it rains, the words will be washed away. Or you can grab the hose and wash them away right now so you can see the words disappear.

Posted in From The Altar, With The Kids

Lenten Devotional Week Four

This week you will need: 
Day Nineteen: Art supplies

Day Twenty: Foot washing supplies OR bubble bath supplies

Day Twenty-one: clear bottle or jar with lid, vegetable oil, food coloring, glitter(optional)

Day Twenty-two: pink square paper (for origami)

Day Twenty-three: fish & bread for dinner, construction paper, glue, and glitter

Day Twenty-four: blue Jello cups or mix, whip cream, teddy grahams


Day Nineteen: Monday: Boy Alive!

Read Luke 7:11-17

Discussion:

– What significance would it have been to the widow if her son had not been raised? Think about the culture at the time. Who would she have had to care for her?

– Would you have been afraid to see someone sit up out of a coffin?

Activity:

– Paint a picture of the story. Add this to your Lenten artwork.

Day Twenty: Tuesday: Alabaster Box

Read Luke 7:36-50

OR

Washed With Tears, p.280-285 in The Jesus Storybook Bible

Discussion:

– What did the story of the debtors have to do with the woman and the Pharisee?

– Was there significance in the act of washing Jesus’s feet?

– Who can forgive sins?

Activity:

– Foot Washin’! Gather your supplies. If you have one of those pedicure tubs, pull it out! Or just grab a basin and some water. Grab some oils, lotions, whatever you have. Spare no expense. Wash the feet of those in your family. You can either do all of them. Mom and Dad can wash all feet together. Or you can all take turns.

– Alternatively: Make a luxurious bubble bath for each member of the family. Go overboard on bubbles, lotions, and fabulous bath goodness. The goal is to make everyone feel loved through pampering.

Day Tweny-One: Wednesday: Calming A Storm

Read Mark 4:35-41

OR

The Captain of The Storm, p.236- 243 in The Jesus Storybook Bible

OR

Jesus Works Miracles: The Storm, p.178-179 in Jesus Calling Storybook Bible

Discussion:

– Have you ever said to God, “Do you not even care that I am perishing?”

– Do you find that faith calms your fears?

– Have you ever felt the awe the disciples felt in your walk with Jesus? That “who is this that the wind and sea obey him” kind of feeling?

Activities:

– Storm in A Bottle: You’ll need a clear bottler jar, water, vegetable oil, food coloring (blue is the most “sea” like, but you could do any color), glitter is optional.

Fill your water or jar half way with oil. Drop in a few drops of food coloring. Add glitter if you are adding it. Fill the rest of the way with water. Add lid. Shake it around to mix the water and food coloring. Now, you can make a storm in the bottle! Rock it back and forth to make waves. Spin it in circles to make whirlwinds.

Day Twenty-Two: Thursday: Demons Into Pigs

Read Matthew 8:28-34

Discussion:

– Do you find it interesting that the demons recognized Jesus as the Son of God?

– We see demon possession in the Bible, yet we don’t hear much about it today. Do you think this is still something that happens? Does this give a new real ness to the term “spiritual warfare”?

– Jesus did something good for these men. Why do the people in the city beg Jesus to leave?

Activity:

– Make an Origami Pig! Origami is paper folding. It may take some practice to get the shapes right, but I am sure you’ll get it with practice.


Day Twenty-Three: Friday: Jesus Feeds 5,000

Read Matthew 14:13-21

OR

Jesus Works Miracles: The Fishes & The Loaves, p.180-181 in Jesus Calling Bible Storybook

OR

Filled Full!, p.244-249 in The Jesus Storybook Bible

Discussion:

– Do you think Jesus was tempted to be mad that all these people were following Him when He was trying to be alone?

– How many people would you guess were really there?

– What do you think they did with the leftovers?

– Do you think anyone in the crowd said, “No thanks. I’m on a low carb, mercury free diet?”

Activity:

– What’s for Dinner? Fish & Bread! Yep. Put that one the menu for dinner tonight. See what they think.

– Fish and Loaves Craft: You will need construction paper, glue, and glitter. Each person will need to cut out 5 loaves of bread from brown construction paper. With another color construction paper, you’ll cut out two fish. Use the glue to draw some lovely scales on the fish. Sprinkle with glitter. Glue all to a backdrop piece of construction paper. Add to Lenten artwork!

Day Twenty-Four: Saturday: Walking on Water

Read Matthew 14: 22-33

OR

Jesus Works Miracles: Jesus Walks on Water p.182-183 in Jesus Calling Bible Storybook

Discussion:

– The disciples had seen many miracles, why would they think “ghost” before “Jesus”?

– Discuss the boldness of Peter to even think to step out of the boat.

– Why did none of the other disciples try to walk on water?

– Do you ever feel like you are sinking and need to focus your eyes back on Jesus?

Activity:

– Walking on Water Snack: You’ll need blue jello, whip cream (or cool whip), and teddy Grahams (or Annie Bunny, whatever you use in your house). Make everyone a cup of blue Jello. Let it sit. Before you serve, add whip cream to the top, prop up two teddy grahams on the top of the whip cream! Enjoy.

Posted in From The Altar, With The Kids

Lenten Family Devotion Week Three

This week you will need: 
Day Fourteen: ingredients for Dole Whip

Day Fifteen: Copies of the coloring page + colored pencils, crayons, markers, or watercolor paints

Day Sixteen: Flashlight

Day Seventeen: Coke, Mentos

Day Eighteen: Copies of the coloring page + coloring supplies


Day Thirteen: Monday: Love Your Enemies

Read Luke 6:27-36

OR

Jesus The Teacher, p.164-165 in Jesus Calling Bible Storybook

Discussion:

– Does Jesus’s command sound foolish to you?

– What would happen if Christians embraced the foolishness of the Gospel?

– Do you need to work on showing love to those you disagree with? With those who despise you? With those who curse you? With those who wish to see you fail? With those with different political opinions than you?

Activity:

– Role Playing: Sometimes it is helpful to work out scenarios and what we should do so when we encounter something similar, we know better how to respond. Keeping the words of Jesus in mind, how should the following scenarios play out?

• Your friend comes to visit. When they leave, you notice your new video game is missing. What should you do?

• A kid is talking bad about you on the playground. What should you do?

• Your brother takes your toy without asking and breaks it. What should you do?

• Your Facebook friend comments on your post about politics and calls you names. What should you do?

Make up other scenarios to fit your family and your child. Help talk them through the scenarios and what Jesus would have us do.

Day Fourteen: Tuesday: Jesus Cleanses The Temple

Read John 2:13-22

Discussion:

– Why was Jesus upset to find people selling animals and changing money in the temple?

– This passage is a fulfillment of prophesy. Why would that be important for the Jewish people? Why would it be important to us?

– Do we see people doing something similar in a modern context?

– Does Jesus sound a little bit crazy here?

– Did the passage of time make more sense out of his words?

Activity:

– Make a Whip! While my initial thought was to make an actual Indiana Jones style whip, with my crazy boys, I thought better of it. Less whelps on them all to explain later. However, there is a Pin on Pinterest for making a Paracord whip if you are feeling adventurous. We’re making Dole Whips. Because I’m a weanie. And I like food.

You’ll need 5 oz. almond milk, 5 oz. coconut milk, ½ cup pineapple juice, 2 ½ cups frozen pineapple chunks, sweetener of choice (honey for us). Blend it all in your blender. Enjoy! If you made paracord whips instead, Run!

Day Fifteen: Wednesday: Nicodemas

Read John 3:1-15

Discussion:

– Why was Nicodemas confused about being born again?

– Do you think those outside of our faith find this confusing, as well?

– How do physical things we do in our lives and church mirror eternal truths?

Activity:

– Jesus & Nicodemas Coloring Page (Remember to display the finished art with the rest of your Lenten artwork!)


Day Sixteen: Thursday: God Loves Us

Read John 3:16-21

Discussion:

– Have you ever memorized John 3:16? Have you ever looked closely at the verse that follow?

– Why would wicked people not want the light?

– Do you think it is important to let people into our lives to see what our lives really look like?

– What would you say living in the light looks like?

Activity:

– Listen to the song “Oh How He Loves Us”.

– Find the Light hide and seek. You’ll need it to be relatively dark. You can play as a group if you have smaller children. Grab a flashlight. One person turns on the flashlight and hides. The others look for that person, using the light as a guide to find them. Alternatively, you can have a flashlight show in your living room. Turn off all the lights, grab some flashlights, turn on some music about God’s love for us, and let the lights dance across the ceiling.

Day Seventeen: Friday: The Woman At The Well

Read John 4:7-30

Discussion:

– What does Jesus talking to a Samaritan show us?

– What is this living water?

– Why did the woman think Jesus was a prophet?

Activity:

– Mentos & Coke: This one is going to be messy. Grab a coke, or a Sprite if you want the water look, drop in a mento, run. Laugh. Be sticky. The kids will love seeing the “living water”!

Day Eighteen: Saturday: The Centurion’s Servant

Read Luke 7:2-10

Discussion:

– What faith did the Centurion show?

– Did he also show humility?

– Do we have faith like this? That a word can make us well? Heal our hurt? Our brokenness? Our problems?

Activity:

– Centurion Soldier Coloring Page (make sure you hang this finished work up with the rest of the Lenten art!)

Posted in From The Altar, With The Kids

Lenten Family Devotion Week Two 

Needs This Week:  
Day Seven: blindfold, cups, three drinks

Day Twelve: black construction paper, white school glue, salt, watercolor paint and paintbrushes


Day Seven : Monday: Water To Wine

Read John 2:1-11

Discussion:  

– What do you think was going through the minds of the servants as the collected the water?

– Was the wine Jesus made good?

– Why do you think Jesus told his mother, “My time has not yet come.”?

Activity:

– Taste Test Time! Gather three liquids that you drink. Please don’t get anything gross. I mean, I guess if you have a household of preteen boys, sure, that might work. You’ll also need a blindfold! Each person takes turns blindfolded and tasting the three drinks and guessing what is in the cup. Could the guests have mistaken water for wine? If you want to make it easy for younger kids, choose drinks that are more different- water, juice, milk. If you want it to be more difficult, choose similar drinks- orange juice, mango juice, grapefruit juice or Pepsi, Coke, RC Cola or cow milk, almond milk, coconut milk. Parents- participate! It is fun for kids to watch parents play, too.

Day Eight: Tuesday: Jesus Heals a Leper

Read Luke 5:12-16

Discussion:  

– What is leprosy?

– In Hebrew culture, lepers were considered unclean. It was part of the ceremonial law that Jewish people could not touch lepers. It kept them from spreading disease. Yet, here, we seek Jesus reaching out his hand and touching the unclean. Discuss the significance of that act.

Activity:

– Let’s Put On a Play! Cast the rolls in the story. Jesus, Leper, Priest. Act out the story. With younger kids, you may need to narrate as they act.

Day Nine: Wednesday: Through The Roof

Read Luke 5:17-26

Discussion: 

– What do you think the paralytic man felt when Jesus said, “Your sins are forgiven.”?

– Why would that statement anger the church leaders?

– Which is easier, healing us of our bent nature or healing our bodies?

– Talk about the role of the paralytic man’s friends. Would the man have the ability to even get to Jesus without these people?

Activity:

– Story Time Yoga: We’re just going to move our bodies with the story. Participate or just read and instruct.

Start lying flat on your back, arms and legs extended. You’re a paralytic.

Your friends are lowering you down to Jesus. Reach both arms and legs straight up. Flail them around like you’re falling, if you wish.

You’re on the floor in front of Jesus. Lay flat on your back, arms and legs extended.

Put your hands in prayer position as you hope Jesus heals you.

Jesus says, “You’re sins are forgiven!” Touch your heart, clap your hands, shout “Yay!” But you’re still lying flat on your back.

Reach to the left with your arms as the church leaders ask “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Reach all the way to the right with your arms as Jesus answers, “Which is easier to say? Your sins are forgiven or rise and walk?”

Return your hands to prayer position.

Jesus says to you, “Rise…” you stand up in your spot.

Lean down and touch your toes. “Take up your mat.”

Stand back up and step forward with one leg. “And walk!”

Jump up and down and glorify God!

Day Ten: Thursday: Healing on The Sabbath

Read Mark 3:1-6

Discussion:  

– Have you ever thought about the laws concerning the Sabbath and how we can honor them in a modern context?

– Why do you think none of the church leaders spoke up before Jesus healed the man?

– Why would the church leaders want to destroy Jesus?

Activity:

– Pharisee May I? Game: This is similar to Mother May I, but a little different. One person is the Pharisee. Everyone tries to get from the start line, to the finish line, where the Pharisee is. They ask a question, “Pharisee May I take 4 steps toward you?” If the Pharisee answers, no one moves. If the Pharisee says nothing, take the steps. If you forget to ask the Pharisee before moving, go back to the beginning. Encourage the Pharisee to sometimes answer and sometimes not answer.

Day Eleven: Friday: The Beatitudes

Read Matthew 5:2-12

OR

Jesus The Teacher p.160-161 in Jesus Calling Bible Storybook

Discussion:

– Have you ever heard the word paradox? (If not, you can explain it to them.)

– What other paradoxes do we find in Scripture?

– Does this make Christianity untrue?

– Which line from the Beatitudes spoke to you most?

Activity

– Word Art: Make word art for the word Blessed. You can write it in rocks outside. You can make the word from a pile of laundry. You can write it on a piece of paper. You can make the word out of Legos. Bonus: If you can combine paradox in the art, like writing “blessed” in a mess your kids made or making it out of dirty dishes.

Day Twelve: Saturday: Salt & Light

Read Matthew 5:13-16

                       

Discussion:

– Why would salt be such an important concept in those days? (Hint: Lack of refrigeration)

– Are you a city on a hill in your community?

– Is showing your light the same as bragging about your good deeds?

Activity:

– Salt and Light Painting: You’ll need white school glue, black construction paper, salt, and watercolor paints. With the glue, make a simple drawing that represents light. It can be a lightbulb, a candle, a flame, a fire, a window, the sun- whatever light object of the child’s choice. Once you have your object drawn in glue (if you want, you can chalk draw it on the paper and then trace over it with the glue), sprinkle salt over the entire thing. Pour off excess salt. Wait a couple minutes for this to dry. Don’t want to paint in wet glue. Once it is dry, take watercolor paints. Wet your brush, mix your color, and simply touch the brush to the salt. The salt will soak up the color from the brush. Once your art is complete, allow it to dry and display it with your Lenten artwork.

Posted in From The Altar, With The Kids

Lenten Family Devotional Week One

This week, we’ll have the two days before Lent to prepare ourselves for the coming season. Technically, Lent won’t start until Day Three- Ash Wednesday. But I encourage you to go ahead and get started with the two Pre-Season devotions.

 

Needed Items for Activities—

– Day Two: party supplies (balloons, noise-makers, cake, party hats, etc.)

– Day Three: celery, peanut butter (or equivalent), raisins, honey

– Day Four: sturdy board (cardboard, poster board, etc.), blue paint, pasta, white glue (like basic school glue)

– Day Five: partially baked bakery bread OR look over the ingredients to make your own bread

Day One—Monday: Sacrifice

A common theme for Lent is sacrifice. We focus on denying ourselves, giving some comfort or happiness up for a season. After all, Christ gave himself for us; what would be too big to give in return for such sacrifice? In looking toward the “giving up” at Lent, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, when we rid ourselves of the excess in life (and we in the West have plenty of excess), we find that we have more than we need. We realize how abundantly blessed we really are, and we realize that Christ is all we really need.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall not thirst.” —John 6:35 (ESV)

The second thing to keep in mind is not to draw attention to ourselves as we fast. We tend to put everything on social media and share everything. Fasting is best not done in such a way. It is one area of your life you can not put out there.

“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash you face, so that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” —Matthew 6:16-18 (ESV)

Share with those in your household. Share with your accountability partner if you have one. Those things are fine. But don’t point out to the world how miserable and deprived you are for the sake of the cross. We do keep a list on our fridge during Lent of everything each person is giving up. It helps us keep one another accountable. But that is for our family, our inner circle. That is not for the world or social media.

Last year, one of my kids gave up candy for Lent. Inevitably, the child was given candy. We instructed him to take it and say, “Thank you.” He then had the option of giving it to someone else or saving it for Sunday, the day we break fast.

During this season of self-denial, let us not forget why we deny ourselves. It isn’t to be thinner or better than anyone else.

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” —Philippians 4:11-13 (ESV)

 

Discussion—

– What will you give up for the 40 days of Lent? Will it be a sacrifice on your part to do so?

Need ideas? Here are a few ideas of fasting for Lent:

• Soda

• Candy

• Sugar

• Caffeine

• Chocolate

• Meat

• Dairy (Chocolate milk is big in our house, so this would be a big sacrifice here.)

• Video games

• Social media (This one tends to be over-used and over-talked-about, but it might be a good fit for you.)

• TV (Also, DVRing all your shows for Sunday watching might be cheating. Think about it.)

• Hot water (It is certainly a luxury you can do without.)

• Eating out

• Make-up

• Convenience, packaged foods

• All drinks but water

• Electronic devices

• Shopping for fun (No long walks around Target, no purchasing anything but necessities…)

• Your favorite toys (For kids, this might be Legos, the trampoline, Hot Wheels, etc.)

Note what isn’t on this list. Things you shouldn’t be doing aren’t here. Why? Because you shouldn’t be doing them. Giving up fighting with your brother isn’t a sacrifice, that is something you should be working on outside of the Lenten season.

Also note, I can’t give up something I don’t currently do. I can’t give up meat, because I already don’t eat meat. So, that wouldn’t really be a sacrifice for me.

– Why would Jesus say to anoint yourself with oil and wash your face while you fast? (Parents, hint: Anointing with oil was the ancient equivalent of bathing.)

– What kind of reward could there be for fasting?

– Should we fast on Sundays through Lent? (Parents, hint: It is the day of the Resurrection. Luke 5:33-35 can also help your discussion.) Some people do fast on Sundays throughout Lent. What you decide will be up to you, but your whole family should decide before together and all stick to the plan.

 

Activity—

Decide what you will deny yourself this Lent. Even young children can participate. We all have something. (Parents, be prepared to help younger children succeed in their task.)

 

Day Two— Fat Tuesday: Devotion

Lent isn’t entirely about sacrifice. It is a time of refocusing our faith— getting back to basics, refining and resetting our priorities. It is a new beginning. That isn’t all negative. It isn’t all in the giving-up. Sometimes we need to add in some good things.

“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor… So, whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. —1 Corinthians 10:23-24, 31 (ESV)

One thing I am already asking you to do is commit to doing devotions as a family throughout this Lenten season. That is already adding in some good, but there is more you could do as a family and as individuals.

You can commit yourself to doing more for your spiritual life. Read your Bible daily if you don’t already. Pray in the morning when you wake if you don’t already. Listen to uplifting Christian music on your way to work through this season, or turn the radio off entirely and spend the time in prayer. Read a good Christian book. Give the money you would have spent (on shopping or eating out) to a charity or your church. Commit to praying daily for a specific purpose: your church, a ministry, a missionary, families in your church, your community, your family, etc. You can find a million ways to add in the good along with your fasting during Lent.

Lent is a good time to forgive those who have wronged you. Look into yourself for any grudges you may be holding, and let them go. If you know you have wronged someone, go to them this Lenten season and apologize.

Commit your family to being part of your church body this Lent. I’d like to think you have this commitment all the time, but I am all too aware that isn’t the reality of the lives of most people. Weekly church attendance, participation in a small group, participation in the ministries of your church— all of these help you reorganize your priorities. If the priority in your family is anything other than Jesus, you need to tear it down and start again. Anything that keeps your family from Christ needs to go. Anything. It is the simplest, most difficult thing you will ever do, and it isn’t a task that is just done. We all need to make sure that this life isn’t getting in the way of The Life.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. —2 Corinthians 4:16-18

 

Discussion—

– Will we, as a family, commit to being together and doing this daily devotion through Lent?

– Will we, as a family, commit to attending church every week this Lent?

– What will you add in that is good in addition to the thing you are giving up this Lent?

– Is our focus, as a family, on Jesus? Is anything keeping us from Him?

 

Activity—

– Have a party to start this season! Bake a cake. Get balloons. This is going to be a good season for your family! Celebrate!

 

Day Three— Ash Wednesday: Preparing the Way

Read Matthew 3:1-12

OR

“John the Baptist” on p.154-155 in Jesus Calling Storybook

OR

“Heaven Breaks Through” on p.200-203 in The Jesus Storybook Bible

 

Discussion—

– What does ‘repent’ mean?

– How can we prepare ourselves this Lent?

– What relationship was John to Jesus?

– Why do you think they called him John the Baptist?

 

Activity—

– John the Baptist snacks: We’ll not go so far as eating locusts, unless you happen to have a store near you that sells such things and you are feeling brave. Instead, we’ll be making ants on a log with honey! Cut some celery into shorter sticks. Fill them with peanut butter or sunbutter, whichever your family happens to use. Take raisins and place them along the “log” in the peanut butter. Drizzle with a little honey. Enjoy. Now, this is far different than what John the Baptist would have really eaten, but we can pretend.

 

Day Four— Thursday: The Baptism of Jesus

Read Matthew 3:13-17

OR

“John the Baptist” on p.154-155 in Jesus Calling Bible Storybook

OR

“Heaven Breaks Through” on p.204-207 in The Jesus Storybook Bible

 

Discussion—

– What do you think ‘baptism’ means? (Parents, if you’re having trouble answering this yourself, ask you pastor.)

– Why do you think John was hesitant to baptize Jesus?

– Have you been baptized? Talk about your experience. Pull out photos you might have. If your kids were baptized as babies, describe their baptisms to them, and pull out pictures or their baptism outfits to show them.

 

Activity—

– Dove Comes Down art: Today, we’re exploring the wide world of dried pasta art! Grab your white glue and pasta of choice (or multiple kinds of pasta), and let’s get started. You’ll want a base that is sturdy, like cardboard, poster board, tag board, etc. Make that blue with paint, markers, or crayons. Now, glue the pasta into the shape of a descending dove. If you need to print a template, go for it. A descending dove is the perfect shape for making pasta art because it is pretty simple. If you normally toss artwork (like I do) try to keep their Lent art for all of Lent. Find some way to display it in your home during this season to remind your family of what you’re learning.

 

Day Five— Friday: The Temptation of Jesus

Read Luke 4:1-13

OR

“Let’s Go” on p.208-209 in The Jesus Storybook Bible

 

Discussion—

– Is temptation itself sin?

– Did you notice that in Jesus’ answers, he was quoting Old Testament Scripture?

– Do you think memorizing the word of God is a good way to avoid temptation?

 

Activity—

– Sneaky Snake Bread: This sneaky snake will appear again in our story. He was there in the garden, tempting the first people created to sin. He is here in this story, tempting Jesus to sin. And he’ll be hiding in the garden, hoping to see the Son of God reject the cross. The first temptation of Jesus, because he was hungry, was to turn a stone into bread. We’re making bread! If you find yourself short on time, get a partially baked baguette from the bakery. Cut slits in the bread on opposite sides and stuff the bread with whatever you want. (If you want a dessert style bread, stuff with cream cheese or mascarpone and berries. If you’d rather go for a savory loaf, try Mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes. If you want to make it for lunch, stuff it with deli meat and cheese.) Then bake it until it is brown. The alternating cuts can serve to “bend” the bread a little. You can also use olives and peppers to make eyes and a snaky tongue if you’re feeling up to it.

If you’re feeling more adventurous and want to bake your own bread from scratch, follow these directions:

8 cups white flour

1 T salt

½ oz. fresh yeast

5 T room-temp milk

1 and 2/3 cups cold water

Mix the yeast and warmish milk to activate the yeast. Wait a few minutes to give the yeast some time to adjust. Add the rest of the ingredients into the warm milk and yeast mixture. Once it is combined, turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes. (This is enough time to give all your kids a chance to knead the dough.) Knead until it is smooth and elastic. Place in an oiled bowl and cover with oiled plastic wrap for about 2 hours to let it rise. It should double. Keeping it somewhere warm will help it rise well.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface, punch it down, and knead it for a minute. Cover it with a kitchen towel and let it rest for about 10 minutes. (These rest times are the magic moments for bread. Skip them, and your bread will be sad.)

Now, you’re going to use your dough to make a snake. Take some and make small stripes. Get as creative as you’re willing to get. Basically, use the dough like Play-Doh. If you’d rather let each kid make their own smaller snake, go with that. While the snake making is going down, preheat your over to 425*. Place the snake(s) on a large baking sheet.

If you want your snakes to be lovely, I would suggest an egg and milk wash. (Whisk one egg and 1 T of milk. Brush that onto the top of the bread before baking.) It’ll make it shiny and beautiful and super-impressive-looking.

Bake your snakes until they are golden brown. Serve them as a snack or with dinner. It is up to you how you consume your snakes.

– Listen to the song A Stick, A Carrot, and A String by mewithoutYou.

 

Day Six— Saturday: Jesus Calls His Disciples

Read John 1:35-51 and Mark 2:13-17

OR

“Twelve Helpers” on p.156-159 in Jesus Calling Bible Storybook

OR

“Let’s Go” on p. 210-213 in The Jesus Storybook Bible

 

Discussion—

– Have you ever thought about just how crazy this all was? A stranger is coming and asking a bunch of guys to follow Him around.

– Why do you think these twelve were the chosen ones?

– Why do you think the religious officials were surprised that Jesus was spending time with tax collectors and sinners?

– What does Jesus’ response tell us about who He is?

 

Activity—

– Follow the Leader: Take turns being Jesus. Jesus says, “Follow me!” Then we follow along the way He is going. If He jumps, we jump. If He crawls, we crawl.

Posted in From The Altar, With The Kids

Lenten Family Devotional 2017 


Lent is coming! It sneaks up on me every year. This year, the focus of our study will be the ministry of Christ. If you’d rather, skip back to 40 Holy People and study that one if it fits your crew better. Or head on back to the Lenten Reading for Kids schedule if you’d prefer that one. If you’re new to my family devotionals, let me tell you how they work and give you some tips.

Lent is a 40-day season, not including Sundays. It is the season that stretches from Ash Wednesday (which is March 1st this year) to Easter Sunday. This year, I have two pre-Lent devotions and then 40 days of devotions for the Lenten season. These are intended to be done as a family. Everyone. All together. Now, I add some optional activities into my devotions. Use them. Don’t use them. You make this work for you and your family.

For Lent, you’ll have one reading each day except for Sunday. Use them as a springboard to talk to your kids about the life of Christ. I’ve also included some questions to get discussion going. Expect to get as much out of this as your kids get. This isn’t just for them; this is for your entire family. You may want to look ahead each week and see if there are any items you’ll need for activities that week. I will add a quick “need” list at the beginning of each week, but if you’re picking and choosing activities, you’ll need to adjust that to fit you.

Who reads? That is up to you. In our house, I am usually the devotional reader, and the Pastor usually handles a lot of the questions. Although, we do sometimes alternate kids reading. It really just depends on our particular time constraints and if the kids are acting particularly cooperative that season. It varies.

If you miss a day, skip it. Don’t try to pile a bunch into one day. Just skip it and move to the next. It’ll be okay. Really.

I write these for my family and then make them available to you. Adjust them as you need, and make them fit you. If you need something short and sweet, just do the readings. If you’ve got littles, use a storybook Bible to read the stories. Do the devotions in the evening, and then let them do the activities the following day. Whatever works for you is what will be best.

I’ve included the Scripture passages, but also added the applicable pages from The Jesus Storybook Bible and Jesus Calling Bible Storybook. If you have younger kids, you may choose to read from a Bible storybook instead of the Bible text when you can (All the readings aren’t found in both Storybooks.), or you may just want to look them up so that the kids can have illustrations to go with the story. If you have another Storybook you love, use it. I simply chose the two that are the most used in our house.

My prayer is that this Lenten devotion brings your family closer to one another and closer to God during this season. I hope you grow as a family in your walk with Jesus, and I sincerely hope this Lenten season is meaningful for you and your children.

Week One

Week Two

Week Three

Week Four

Week Five

Week Six

Week Seven

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Posted in Among The Homeschool, From The Altar, Out Of My Head, With The Kids

40 Holy People: Week Seven

40 holy people

Day 35: Frances Ridley Havergal: All For Thee

frances_ridley_havergal

Frances was born in 1836 in England. She was the youngest of six children. Her father was a minister, so Frances grew up in the Church. Her mother died when she was 14 and she went to live and study at a boarding school.

Frances wrote poetry. Being a musician, she also put her poems to music. She prayed that God would guide and anoint her writing. And He did.

Frances told God that she would do anything He asked. She was always ready to share the story of Jesus with anyone she met, even if it meant stopping what she was doing to talk to them. She even gave all her jewelry to help fund missions work.

On her deathbed, Frances praised God to be meeting Him so soon. She tried to sing one last hymn to the Lord as she took her final breaths.

Watch this video and see if you recognize Frances’ most popular hymn.

Day 36: John Hyde: The Language of The Heart

HydeJohn

John Nelson Hyde was one of six children. His father was a minister in Carthage, Illinois. His father prayed that God would send laborers to the field (meaning people to go into the world and share Jesus). Three of the Hyde children were called into the ministry of God.

John heard God’s call on his life to go to the mission field. He talked about missions, prayed about missions, and encouraged other classmates to go to the mission field, as well. 26 of 46 of his graduating class ended up going to the mission field.

John felt God calling him to India. He served as a village missionary, traveling from village to village on foot or in a horse-drawn cart to share Jesus with the people. He spent much of that time living in a tent. He spent most of his time in India living in that tent.

john was very close to being deaf, so his sending group thought it might be best if he was not on the field. John agree to come home and turned in his resignation. The people in the villages heard that John was being pulled from the field and protested. Saying, “If he never speaks the language of our lips, he speaks the language of our hearts.”

For the first thirteen years he was in India, John saw very little results. He was robbed and threatened with violence by some. John continued to pray for India to know Christ and he continued to tell the people about Christ. He was known to pray for hours for the people he ministered to. His response to all difficulties and all problems was prayer. Though he saw little results for his prayers, He knew He would eventually see God’s harvest. He encouraged friends and family to pray for India. People all over the world starting praying with John that God would do something big in India.

In 1905, after more than a decade of work and prayer, John finally saw the answer to prayers he’d been looking for. Revival had broken out in India! (Revival is what we call it when many people turn to Jesus at once and the Holy Spirit moves people toward Christ.) For the next five years, John traveled all over India and people came to Jesus.

Two years later, John died. His dying words were, “Shout victory to Jesus!” (Only he said them in Punjab, a language used in India.)

Can you imagine God calling you to a foreign land and not even having a home to sleep in when you got there?

Could you pray for 12 years for something without seeing any answers to your prayer? Do you think that was difficult for John to do?

Coloring Page.

Day 37: William Taylor: Reaching The World

220px-Bishop_William_Taylor

William Taylor was born to Methodist Ministers in Virginia in 1821. He was the oldest of eleven children. He followed in his father’s steps and became a circuit preacher at the age of 21.

In 1849, William felt called to California. The Gold Rush was just beginning, and William felt God leading him to the opposite coast of his birth. He built a chapel once he arrived in California and then built a house to live in. He became the pastor to unchurched multitudes from sailors to miners, most living very sinful lives. He saw many of these people come to find salvation in Jesus. Those people, then took Jesus to those around them.

After ministering in California for about 10 years, William traveled across the country preaching to people in Philadelphia and then Indiana. Then, William went to Canada to preach the Gospel. In Canada, he heard that Australia was in need of Jesus. So, on William went to Australia. After three years of ministering in Australia, William went to South Africa. He traveled up the coast of Africa by ship, preached as they went along. In 7 months, he saw 8,000 people come to know Jesus as their Savior. From Africa, William traveled to England, preaching the Word of God to the people there. He then went to Barbados, then British Guiana, then Scotland, then to the West Indies. He preached in St. Kitts, St. Vincent, Nevis, Trinidad, Tobago, St. Thomas, and Jamaica. He then went back to Australia, then to Tasmania and Ceylon. In 1870, when he was almost 50, William went to India to preach about Jesus there and found churches. After starting revivals across India, William then went to South America, to take Jesus to the people there. At 63 years old, William went back to South Africa, which was the last place he took the word of God before his death. He set revivals ablaze in hearts on almost every continent of the world in his lifetime.

If one man could reach people in that many countries, how many people do you think could be reached by the whole Church?

Can you mark all the countries that William Taylor ministered in? (Map.)

Day 38: Peter: The Rock

peter

Peter was an interesting guy. He seemed to always be the first to jump out there. Sometimes, this was good for him. Other times, well, Peter must have gotten used to the rebuking. But even through his mistakes, Peter was still the guy Jesus chose to carry on the Church when He was gone.

Matthew 16:13-20 (CEB) says:

Now when Jesus came to the area of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Human One is?”

They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”

He said, “And what about you? Who do you say that I am?”

Simon Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Then Jesus replied, “Happy are you, Simon son of Jonah, because no human has shown this to you. Rather my Father who is in heaven has shown you. I tell you that you are Peter. And I’ll build my church on this rock. The gates of the underworld won’t be able to stand against it. I’ll give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Anything you fasten on earth will be fastened in heaven. Anything you loosen on earth will be loosened in heaven.” Then he ordered the disciples not to tell anybody that he was the Christ.

Peter tells Jesus that he knows Jesus is the Son of God. Way to go, Peter! Jesus tells Peter he’s going to be the leader of the Church from there. And then what happens?

Matthew 16: 21-23 (CEB) says:

From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he had to go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and legal experts, and that he had to be killed and raised on the third day. Then Peter took hold of Jesus and, scolding him, began to correct him: “God forbid, Lord! This won’t happen to you.” But he turned to Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are a stone that could make me stumble, for you are not thinking God’s thoughts but human thoughts.”

Whoa! We go from, “Dude, I’m choosing you to be the rock of my Church.” to “Get behind me Satan!” That is quite the turn around. And to Peter’s benefit, wouldn’t we all wish nothing but happiness and no pain for our friends? But that wasn’t what Jesus was trying to do. Being safe wouldn’t accomplish what the world needed. So while Peter wanted his friend and Lord to just be safe, Jesus knew the plan was different.

After this night, you have Peter putting his foot in his mouth again on the mountain with Jesus. Then you have the disciples being unable to cast the demons out of a little boy, and Jesus has to do the work for them, because they lacked faith. After this, Jesus has Peter go fishing to pay their taxes. Then we see Jesus teaching his disciples lessons about lost sheep, falling into sin, and forgiveness. And so on that last week goes until we get to the night Jesus is arrested.

In Matthew 26, Jesus tells Peter that he will betray Him three times. Of course, Peter says that won’t happen. Then he cuts off a guy’s ear who is trying to arrest Jesus, so you’re thinking, maybe Peter really won’t betray Jesus. But then we read Matthew 26: 69- 75 (CEB):

Meanwhile, Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant woman came and said to him, “You were also with Jesus the Galilean.”

But he denied it in front of all of them, saying, “I don’t know what you are talking about.”

When he went over to the gate, another woman saw him and said to those who were there, “This man was with Jesus, the man from Nazareth.”

With a solemn pledge, he denied it again, saying, “I don’t know the man.”

A short time later those standing there came and said to Peter, “You must be one of them. The way you talk gives you away.”

Then he cursed and swore, “I don’t know the man!” At that very moment the rooster crowed. Peter remembered Jesus’ words, “Before the rooster crows you will deny me three times.” And Peter went out and cried uncontrollably.

And we see that Jesus was right. Peter denied him. We don’t see Peter again until after Jesus’s death, when he is at the tomb and walked in to find that Jesus’s body was gone. And then Peter is all in. No more denying. No more running. From the empty tomb until his own upside down crucifixion. From the empty tomb, Peter was bold for Christ. He became that rock that the Church was built on. He walked on water. Those moments of denial did not define the legacy of Peter. They could have if he had let them. But he didn’t. He knew Jesus. Jesus’s death was just as much for Peter as for anyone. And Peter worked for the Church Jesus loved to the end.

Do you ever feel like you’ve done something so bad that there is no hope of being good?

Do you want to confess those things to Jesus so He can forgive you and make you a holy person?

Coloring Page.

Day 39: Jesus: Our Salvation

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Luke 22:39-46 (CEB)

Jesus left and made his way to the Mount of Olives, as was his custom, and the disciples followed him. When he arrived, he said to them, “Pray that you won’t give in to temptation.” He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed. He said, “Father, if it’s your will, take this cup of suffering away from me. However, not my will but your will must be done.” Then a heavenly angel appeared to him and strengthened him. He was in anguish and prayed even more earnestly. His sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground. When he got up from praying, he went to the disciples. He found them asleep, overcome by grief. He said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray so that you won’t give in to temptation.”

Luke 22:47-52 (CEB)

While Jesus was still speaking, a crowd appeared, and the one called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him.

Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Human One with a kiss?”

When those around him recognized what was about to happen, they said, “Lord, should we fight with our swords?” One of them struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear.

Jesus responded, “Stop! No more of this!” He touched the slave’s ear and healed him.

Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders who had come to get him, “Have you come with swords and clubs to arrest me, as though I were a thief? Day after day I was with you in the temple, but you didn’t arrest me. But this is your time, when darkness rules.”

Luke 22:63-71 (CEB)

The men who were holding Jesus in custody taunted him while they beat him. They blindfolded him and asked him repeatedly, “Prophesy! Who hit you?” Insulting him, they said many other horrible things against him.

As morning came, the elders of the people, both chief priests and legal experts, came together, and Jesus was brought before their council.

They said, “If you are the Christ, tell us!”

He answered, “If I tell you, you won’t believe. And if I ask you a question, you won’t answer. But from now on, the Human One will be seated on the right side of the power of God.”

They all said, “Are you God’s Son, then?”

He replied, “You say that I am.”

Then they said, “Why do we need further testimony? We’ve heard it from his own lips.”

Luke 23:1-49 (CEB)

The whole assembly got up and led Jesus to Pilate and began to accuse him. They said, “We have found this man misleading our people, opposing the payment of taxes to Caesar, and claiming that he is the Christ, a king.”

Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

Jesus replied, “That’s what you say.”

Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no legal basis for action against this man.”

But they objected strenuously, saying, “He agitates the people with his teaching throughout Judea—starting from Galilee all the way here.”

Hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. When he learned that Jesus was from Herod’s district, Pilate sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time. Herod was very glad to see Jesus, for he had heard about Jesus and had wanted to see him for quite some time. He was hoping to see Jesus perform some sign. Herod questioned Jesus at length, but Jesus didn’t respond to him. The chief priests and the legal experts were there, fiercely accusing Jesus. Herod and his soldiers treated Jesus with contempt. Herod mocked him by dressing Jesus in elegant clothes and sent him back to Pilate. Pilate and Herod became friends with each other that day. Before this, they had been enemies.

Then Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people. He said to them, “You brought this man before me as one who was misleading the people. I have questioned him in your presence and found nothing in this man’s conduct that provides a legal basis for the charges you have brought against him. Neither did Herod, because Herod returned him to us. He’s done nothing that deserves death. Therefore, I’ll have him whipped, then let him go.”

But with one voice they shouted, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us.” (Barabbas had been thrown into prison because of a riot that had occurred in the city, and for murder.)

Pilate addressed them again because he wanted to release Jesus.

They kept shouting out, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

For the third time, Pilate said to them, “Why? What wrong has he done? I’ve found no legal basis for the death penalty in his case. Therefore, I will have him whipped, then let him go.”

But they were adamant, shouting their demand that Jesus be crucified. Their voices won out. Pilate issued his decision to grant their request. He released the one they asked for, who had been thrown into prison because of a riot and murder. But he handed Jesus over to their will.

As they led Jesus away, they grabbed Simon, a man from Cyrene, who was coming in from the countryside. They put the cross on his back and made him carry it behind Jesus. A huge crowd of people followed Jesus, including women, who were mourning and wailing for him. Jesus turned to the women and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t cry for me. Rather, cry for yourselves and your children. The time will come when they will say, ‘Happy are those who are unable to become pregnant, the wombs that never gave birth, and the breasts that never nursed a child.’ Then they will say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ If they do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

They also led two other criminals to be executed with Jesus. When they arrived at the place called The Skull, they crucified him, along with the criminals, one on his right and the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” They drew lots as a way of dividing up his clothing.

The people were standing around watching, but the leaders sneered at him, saying, “He saved others. Let him save himself if he really is the Christ sent from God, the chosen one.”

The soldiers also mocked him. They came up to him, offering him sour wine and saying, “If you really are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” Above his head was a notice of the formal charge against him. It read “This is the king of the Jews.”

One of the criminals hanging next to Jesus insulted him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”

Responding, the other criminal spoke harshly to him, “Don’t you fear God, seeing that you’ve also been sentenced to die? We are rightly condemned, for we are receiving the appropriate sentence for what we did. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus replied, “I assure you that today you will be with me in paradise.”

It was now about noon, and darkness covered the whole earth until about three o’clock, while the sun stopped shining. Then the curtain in the sanctuary tore down the middle. Crying out in a loud voice, Jesus said, “Father, into your hands I entrust my life.” After he said this, he breathed for the last time.

When the centurion saw what happened, he praised God, saying, “It’s really true: this man was righteous.” All the crowds who had come together to see this event returned to their homes beating their chests after seeing what had happened. And everyone who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance observing these things.

Day 40: You: Your Life in Christ

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So who will you be? What will you do for God? Will you love your neighbor? Will you help the sick? Will you feed the hungry? Will your life point to the cross? Will people see you and want to know Jesus? All of these holy people made the choice to follow Jesus. (Even Jesus made the choice to do the will of the Father.) Every Saint did what they could one thing at a time. What will you do?

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